I have always had an interest in extracting parts of the landscape/natural world and trying to create ‘abstract’ images.
Near my house in Spain there is feature which gave its name to the area in the distant past. That feature is known as ‘El Bañuelo’ which translates from Spanish to ‘the bath’, more or less! There is a grander ‘El Bañuelo’ in Granada City which is a tourist attraction close to the Alhambra Palace but the one near me is much more basic – more rustic as an estate agent/realtor might say! By that I mean it is open air (the one in Granada has a roof with star shaped holes cut out of it) and is basically a rectangular box. It is fed by a spring which runs all year even when we have a run of dry Mediterranean Winters. The spring is still important even though there is now mains water in the area. My neighbours won’t drink the mains water because it is chlorinated so they take bottles up to the spring everyday to collect their drinking water. The ‘Bañuelo’ was used for bathing before mains water came to the area (still is sometimes) and has an adjacent trough where water can be channelled for the sheep and goats farmed in the area. It stores water from the spring which is channelled through pipes to water the adjacent orange groves. Orange trees are thirsty and need a good soaking every week if they are to produce a good quantity of oranges.
‘El Bañuelo’ was therefore an extremely important feature of life in this small part of the Spanish countryside, providing drinking water, somewhere to wash, water for the livestock (which in turn provided meat, milk and cheese), and irrigation for the oranges/lemons and vegetables. Now it is a little scruffy but still an important socio-historical feature of the area. These two images taken today (so the lighting is different than the image I used for the abstract taken earlier) show the reality of its current state.
I decided to extract from that reality to create an abstract image from it. The first idea was to use the reflected shadows in the water to give me different bands of colour. In effect the shadows were replicating changes in exposure levels for different areas of the water since luminance impacts on how we see colours – the same colour (hue and saturation) seen in bright sunlight looks lighter than the same colour in shadow.
The next task was to select a specific part of the scene to give me a mix of textures, shapes and colours to work with. I chose a composition that included the wall immediately above the water level, the flow of the spring into the water and an angle that gave me diagonal bands of shadow on the secondary diagonal from bottom left of the frame towards the top right, this also created lines leading towards the spring. In post processing I used Nik Color Efex Pro 4 (now part of the Google Empire) to increase the level of abstraction. First by applying the pre-set ‘Detail extractor’ filter to accentuate boundaries between any lines/shapes/textures and then overlaying the pre-set ‘Polaroid transfer’ filter and adjusting the ‘smear’ and ‘tear off’ values until I created the effect I wanted to achieve.
This is the final image.